Leight, Stiles on board experimental stage show
The upcoming “Persephone” has all the right experimental theater credentials: It’s a multimedia project from edgy troupe Ridge Theater. It tells its story in less-than-linear fashion. And it’s at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, no stranger to arty international offerings.
What it also has, though, is a couple of creatives from the unexpectedly mainstream realm of TV.
The script is by Warren Leight, whose Tony win for “Side Man” launched a robust tube career that has included “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “In Treatment” and the upcoming FX skein “Lights Out,” for which he’s showrunner. And it stars Julia Stiles, currently in the midst of a season-long arc on Showtime’s “Dexter.”
Ridge’s connections to Leight and Stiles are longstanding. Leight has known the troupe since he penned an early rave review for the company in the Village Voice in the 1980s, while Stiles first acted with Ridge when she was 11.
But scheduling stage work alongside TV demands has been hectic at best. Leight recounts grabbing time with his collaborators in erratic middle-of-the-night meetings, and Stiles has furiously been working to finish up with “Dexter” prior to returning to Gotham for the BAM run, set for Oct. 26-30.
Nonetheless, such legit outings can bring a welcome respite from the plot-driven realism of TV fare. Leight likens the experience both to a zen sand-painting and to a musician suddenly allowed to play jazz after a long stint with a pit orchestra.
The scribe adds he always keeps the stage in mind, but TV keeps pulling him back.
“I kept thinking, ‘OK, this TV thing is going to slow down,’?” he says. “And then I did 35 episodes of ‘In Treatment.’?”